I finished the audio book of ‘From Russia with Love’ surprisingly fast. I listened to it during my gym trips and as I go there three times per week, it was over before I realized. It appears I listen faster than I read 😀 . It was the second audio book I listened to and I must say I like it. It is not a perfect way to ‘read’ the book, as I often find myself losing concentration which makes me miss little bits here and there. With Ian Fleming’s story, I didn’t find this a problem, I didn’t miss the line of the story. I have immediately got myself a new book, Good Omens, written by the late Terry Pratchett and Neil Gayman in 1990 and I find their writing not suited for audio. Too much happening, too many references to past text. I need to get another one.
Back to From Russia with Love. I listened to the story before I (re)watched the movie. I was surprised about the detail Fleming gives in his story. I always had the impression that his writing was ‘below average,’ that it was ‘cheap’ and ‘full of action.’ This didn’t mean there is little information in his writing. The first chapter describes one of the scenes which appears later in the movie. It’s the one where the assassin is being massaged by a pretty lady in her underwear. In the scene, no one talks. Not one word is said, but Fleming details everything. In particular, the girl’s thoughts are described, how she despises the man her hands are working on for no apparent reason. How he terrifies her without ever having said something to her. Fleming describes extremely well what sort of a man he is. After all, he is an assassin (but the girl doesn’t know this). I liked this opening of the book.
There is a lot of telling instead of showing. Every person and every scene are described. I didn’t mind this, but I guess that is partly the director in me. I suppose it helped when they made the movie. Fleming also used a lot of adverbs and adjectives. Again, I didn’t mind this, but I did notice.
When I watched the movie, the first thing I noticed was that they didn’t follow the book. The sequences were different, scenes were added, helicopters and explosions were added. Another big difference is that SPECTRE replaced Russia as the ‘bad guys.’ I’m not sure if this was done because the relationship with Russia was precarious, but it was a surprise. I hadn’t realized when I read the book. Then again, it had been ages since I watched the movie. As the movie was made in 1963, Sean Connery is very young in the movie. So young, I almost didn’t’ recognize him 😀 . I was annoyed when I was watching him and his co-actors on the screen. I missed the information provided by Fleming in the book. The backgrounds, the character traits, the details; they were totally dismissed. The movie seemed like a very cheap copy.
My conclusion is that I preferred to read the book over watching the movie. But I guess you already knew I was going to say this 😀 .